Nurturing Authentic Friendships

It’s been said that a good friend is someone who doesn’t let you do stupid things….Alone.  But is a good friend a true friend?  In the context of social media, the term “friend” is often used to describe contacts rather than relationships. You have the ability to send your “friends” a message, but this is not the same thing as having a relationship.  Social media has conditioned us to think mostly  about having friends which leaves us room to forget that it takes effort and support to focus on being a friend.  Like clay on a potters wheel at any given moment friendships can take many forms.  With support, being the steady hand and  love as the creativity a vessel is molded to hold  the nectar of  loving friendship.  Strength and longevity are created with the firing of the clay and the simplicity of drying, which is time.

  •  Key Ideas about Friendship

In order to be happy we need meaningful connections with other people so we choose friends  who share our values.  Friends should help strengthen and encourage us to live up our shared standards.  Friends support each other.  In the difficult trails of life a friend may just be required to listen because there is not always a solution to be discussed and feelings are fleeting, they each realize that. But they are always there, even in silence.  Friends guide each other sincerely in times of need.  They speak the truth, no matter how difficult and they provide honest opinions.  Friends are loyal in confidence and character and they try their best to cheer you up when you are upset.  Friends make you feel special by being respectful and forgiving and never would hold a grudge over petty disagreements.  To live means to grow, so a friend should be encouraging of your personal growth and standing by your side to help define who you become.

 

  • A True Friend
A true friend is someone who has touched your heart and will always stay there.  Someone you care for, who cares for you.
Not everyone has to be a close friend, but it’s integral to our happiness that we show people who we truly are, allow ourselves to know them in return, and then remind each other through actions—small or large—that we care.

Some way to show a true friend that you care

  • Be a good listener.  Listen to understand not to respond.  Every once in a while reflect back what you friend has told you to show you are listening and hearing correctly.  Try not to interrupt.
  • Tell them you care.  So often we become so comfortable with others we think they can read our minds.  They can’t. Speak up.
  • Avoid judgments – provide supportive suggestions if they ask.
  • Apologize – Demonstrates concern about the friendship more than the argument.
  • Keep your word.
  • Show you care through conversation – give a call, drop a text.
  • Show you care in your actions.  Surprise them with a “just because card or gift/create something handmade/cook dinner or offer to take them out if you sense they’ve had a rough day.
  • Send a text just saying you’ve thought about them and hope they’re having a good day.
  • Remember important dates.
  • Perform acts of kindness. Open doors, buy a coffee, sweep their floor.  Anything that shows you are thinking about them and wanting to make their life easier.
  • Hug – operate within your comfort zone, but physical contact, as simple as touching someone’s arm can communicate affection in a simple and direct way.
  • Share something of yours.  A family tradition or an object that means something special to you.
  • Be prepared to make sacrifices in a time of need.
  • Anticipate their needs. If you know your friend really well, you might be able to tell what your friend needs without having to ask or be asked. Think about what’s going on in your friend’s life and try to anticipate what they want and need from you as a friend. This requires being in-the-know with your friend, so staying current on their life is a prerequisite.
  • Show you care during a crisis.  Communicate your concern – even if it is difficult.  “I don’t know what to say, but I’m here for you” accompanied by a hug can make all the difference.  Ask how you can help.  Be specific. “Do you want to talk about it?”  “Can I pick up groceries for you?”
  • Find resources.  Be a support system.  Help them navigate a crisis or an event.
  • Show devotion.  Visit, send a card or leave a note. If you don’t know what to say or do – be there, if they need you, you won’t be far away.

What are some ideas you have for “just because” gifts?

What family traditions have you shared?

 

“Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” Girl Scout song

 

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